This article takes a back-door view of your worth by looking at how you value (negotiate) products and services.
For perspective, join me on a brief look back at my history of successful negotiations until I discovered they were unnecessary.
For years, I negotiated to win. I taught corporate America’s elite how to negotiate winning contracts. I taught persuasion at the university. My success in buying for the lowest cost while selling at the highest was electrifying. I used my skills to talk my way out of speeding tickets.
Then I stopped.
I no longer felt a need to negotiate and accepted responsibility for my speeding and more. I gave in to periodic roadside interviews. At the end, I’d oblige with my autograph and later a mid-three-figure donation.
This happened frequently after I moved to Southern California due to a long commute. My Hollywood career had taken off. People in uniform were pulling me over to meet me. I was a star!
The truth is, my donations likely financed one of Southern California’s rideshare lanes. Fortunately, after completion of the rideshare lane, I went into recovery from this pricey habit and gave up my costly “Hollywood career.”
Negotiating lost its luster in other areas as well. My first major purchase in this post-negotiation phase was this convertible (pictured) for which I paid higher-than-list-price.
Three years later, while caring for my father living with Alzheimer’s disease, I reflected on my upbringing and began asking a question.
As a child, I witnessed my parents work hard and live frugally. I observed them pay as little as they could and even get things for free. After my mother died and my father was diagnosed with dementia, I was responsible for clearing out 45 years of accumulated possessions.
I learned then that they had saved enough to have enjoyed their lives more than they did. My father wanted to travel internationally. My parents wanted to move to California in the 1980s and buy a home.
Learning from my parents’ life choices and from those I’ve helped with parts of their estate plans, I now ask, “What’s it worth to me?”
Sometimes, people offer me a gift. “It’s free,” they exclaim. These days, I resist saying, “Yes.” I don’t even reach out to accept, because I consider the price of ownership.
“What will it cost me in time and energy?”
Don’t fall victim to free. A gift will cost you. It takes effort to do something with it. More importantly, it takes something irreplaceable – your time.
As a speaker about caregiving for people with dementia, potential clients will often ask me to tell them my speaking fee.
I feel uncomfortable with this question as I do not have set fees. I want to learn about their event and determine “what’s it worth to me” to prepare, travel, and present at their conference. At this stage in my career, I need to work with proactive clients who value impactful custom-designed presentations.
I’ll ask, “What’s it worth to you to have me present at your conference?”
The discussion often stops here.
When we define the value we place on things, services, and relationships, we will better position ourselves to determine our worth.
In doing so, we liberate ourselves from stressful negotiations that leave us questioning whether we did the right thing. We deal with integrity. We don’t offend because we’re clear about the value we place on a thing, service, or relationship that is likely different than someone else’s.
Start asking, “What’s it worth to me?” and you’ll be surprised at how much more at ease you’ll feel when buying and selling with greater confidence.
Negotiations can’t reflect real value or worth, because these are determined by each party’s point of view. A wealthy man lost for days in the hot desert, will give up his day-date Rolex for a cup of water to avoid death. That’s about $13,000 USD (new) for his life sustained by 8 ounces of drinking water.
When we ask, “What’s it worth to me?” our answer allows us to enjoy more of what we need, while being less distracted by what we think we want.
Fully revised and updated article of two originally published in 2012:
What’s it worth to you? – The Caregiver’s Voice
What’s it worth to you? – EZine Articles